Panel 8. Addressing synergies and trade-offs in drought governance

This panel is linked to a special issue in the International Journal of Water Governance

In many regions of the world, drought has been a recurring issue of concern (e.g. North-East Brazil), and due to climate change many more regions are getting affected by drought (e.g. the Netherlands). Droughts take many different forms, but very often they are influenced by how societies and stakeholders distribute water and wealth across multiple levels. Given the vital importance of water to many human activities, drought impacts a variety of sectors and Sustainable Development Goals. Drought governance is often called upon to achieve the desired resilience and transformation.

While drought is often considered a water management problem, its causes and effects reach far beyond what water managers typically handle. As a cross-cutting issue and a cross-sector challenge, synergies and trade-offs with drought are abundant. We understand trade-offs here as negative side-effects of interventions between different sectors, and synergies as positive side-effects of interventions between different sectors. These synergies and trade-offs often fall between the cracks in the governance system: between institutionalized sectors, between siloed government departments, and between public, private and civil society actors.

This panel issue invites empirical papers on drought governance from across the globe, addressing questions like:

  • What are key trade-offs and synergies in governing drought as a cross-cutting issue, and are governance systems equipped to deal with trade-offs and synergies?
  • How does drought governance deal with cross-cutting effects on a variety of SDGs?
  • What is the role of public, private and community actors in creating, managing or suffering from trade-offs and lack of synergies?
  • What governance mechanisms of alignment between actors across sectors can be observed in drought governance?